| Rezar Balla
As part of hosting the Thematic Focus Group (TWG) Access to Single Market as one of the seven TWGs of the Berlin Process CSF in Tirana, EPI organized a discussion titled “Deeper economic integration of the Western Balkans to the European Union – when, how and how much?” where we presented and discussed the draft policy paper prepared based on the inputs from the participants in the TWG Access to the European Single Market.
The aim of the event was to exchange views on the policy recommendations to refine the TWG arguments and policy recommendations ahead of the Berlin Process Summit in October in Tirana.
The panelists and the participants at the event discussed how to facilitate access and early access of the Western Balkans into the EU Single Market, facilitate sound public finance management, and streamline structural reforms with better coordination and monitoring of the Economic Reform Programmes. Our participants emphasized the need for increased Pre-Accession Assistance with a formal plan to boost pre-accession assistance. The involvement and participation of key societal stakeholders, including CSOs, is necessary to ensure a strong focus on the rule of law is maintained in the process.
The key points of discussion from the TWG Access to the Single Market were presented by our researcher Stefan Ristovski, and the panelists that discussed them were Milena Mihajlovic from the Centre for European Policy from Serbia, Ardian Hackaj from the Cooperation and Development Institute from Albania, Dragan Tilev from Secretariat for European Affairs of North Macedonia, Oleksandra Bulana from the Ukrainian Centre for European Policy, Matteo Bonomi from the Istituto Affari Internazionali from Italy, and Adnan Cerimagic from the European Stability Initiative.
This year’s Civil Society and Think Thank Forum (CSF) is organized as a series of events that bring together civil society representatives, think-tankers, and experts from the Western Balkans (WB) to discuss various regional challenges, share best practices, and develop policy recommendations to be presented to decision-makers at the Berlin Process Summit.
The Government of Albania, as current holder of the Presidency of the Berlin Process, and host of the Berlin Process Summit 2023, has mandated Open Society Foundations in Western Balkans the responsibility for preparing, organizing, and overseeing the Civil Society and Think Tank Forum, on behalf of the implementing partners Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI).